[Coral-List] La Nina, and global warming

Ulf Erlingsson ceo at lindorm.com
Thu Nov 25 10:36:07 EST 2010

Let me reply to all who commented to this post:

The origin was a post that asked how to convince those who are not  
yet convinced. I replied to that by stating what I am missing in  
terms of arguments; why I personally am not convinced. Some have  
apparently misunderstood that contribution and with their posts,  
demonstrated exactly how NOT to argue the case.

Nobody will be convinced by irrelevant arguments such as argumentum  
ad bacculum, the "no true Scotsman"-argument, etc etc.

I also provided a breakdown of the hypothesis to be proved in 3  
points. The purpose was not to debate every detail, but to reply to  
the original question: What can be done to argue the hypothesis more  

Once more, I will try to reply to that original question: The way to  
argue the case more effectively is to be more logical, in fact, to be  
strictly logical, and to use ONLY relevant arguments.

The examples I mentioned were just examples, and it is totally  
irrelevant to go into a debate on them.

I read the IPCC draft report and found it to be a giant on clay feet.  
It was not sufficiently stringent.

Let me add a point. First, the three previous are:

1. Assumptions
2. Models, analysis
3. Consequences
The forth one is:
4. Response

The thing here is that the political response is in large parts the  
same if one accepts this hypothesis, and if one doesn't accept it.  
The one and only MAJOR difference is that if one accepts it, one will  
conclude that we should replace thermal power plants with nuclear  
power plants (this does not mean that I accuse the "believers" of  
being funded by the nuclear industry, I'm just pointing out an  

Would it not be better to focus on ACTION instead of endless debate???
Ulf Erlingsson
"If you only knew, my son, with how little wisdom the world is run."  
Axel Oxenstierna, 1648

On 2010-11-24, at 18:12, Michael Risk wrote:

> Hello coral-list. Long time no see.
> Ulf's post is typical of the views of some denier-scientists. If I  
> read him correctly, he questions the views of hydrocarbon usage- 
> David Lawrence has demolished that point better than I could have.  
> He also questions the validity of models, and goes on to say (if I  
> read him correctly) that, well, some places win, some places lose.
> Now, I hasten to say, Gene, that this field needs disturbers,  
> people who will make us think carefully about our own beliefs, and  
> their basis. But there is a difference between being devil's  
> advocate and being a diversion.
> I think we get too hung up on the models. As a good friend of mine  
> puts it. "modelling is like masturbation-a harmless activity that  
> should never be confused with the real thing."
> By now, it should be clear that we don't need the models. There is  
> more than enough hard science out there. Here is just a short  
> selection, out of many: "the initiation of the Younger Dryas may  
> have taken place over as few as five years. This rate of change in  
> deeper-ocean conditions is one of the most rapid such recorded  
> events in the marine record." (Smith et al 1997, Nature 386.) This  
> describes the temporary shutdown of the Gulf Stream presumably  
> caused by a meltwater event such as we are seeing now.
> Williams and Grottoli (2010) describe results from analyses of  
> gorgonians that support "slowdown of the tropical Pacific Walker  
> circulation during the 20th Century." (GRL 37)
> Lastly: I am not a great fan of announcing new research on the - 
> list. I take the radical point of view that, if it's good science,  
> people will read it without the sales pitch. But in this case-I  
> just got sent a preprint of a paper on which I am NOT an author, in  
> which Sherwood et al. state, among other things, "We conclude that  
> the persistence of the warm, nutrient-rich regime since the early  
> 1970s is largely unique in the context of the last ~1800 years.  
> This evidence suggests that nutrient variability in this region is  
> coordinated with recent changes in global climate." (PNAS, in  
> press: single-compound analysis of deep-sea gorgonians.)
> In short, we need not look to models to tell us things are  
> changing. And if I ever hear yet another denier say "the climate  
> has changed in the past" I swear my hair will catch on fire. A  
> little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
> Ulf takes the point of view that there are other disasters at foot  
> in the world, so why don't we take care of these first? This again  
> is nothing new. This position is a shape-shifter (my wife watches  
> Star Trek). It is either misplaced naivety, or clever misdirection.  
> People have migrated, adapted, etc., as long as there have been  
> people. What is new here is the SCALE of that change.
> Ulf speaks of Sweden being relatively untouched. Well, Swedish  
> Smugness may change to Fennoscandian Fear if the Gulf Stream shuts  
> down-which it may well do. (Some of our earlier work suggested that  
> meltwater from Greenland could do just that, shut down the GS-as  
> shown in Smith et al, above. But our later work seemed to indicate  
> qualified good news: there was SO MUCH heat being generated that  
> the GS flow would overpower any meltwater pulse. But stick around- 
> after all, the GS has come and gone-and if it goes, there goes  
> Swedish civilization.)
> My own country will probably come out of it better than any, which  
> sort of p----s me off (I know Jim, it's a government website.)  
> Canadians use more energy and more water than any other people on  
> the face of the earth. By rights, WE should suffer from the coming  
> climate change, not the poor in the Third World. This problem is  
> not confined to academic discussions of models and trends. I spent  
> 15-odd years living and working in Indonesia-and finer people it  
> would be hard to imagine. Indonesia runs on 3 rice crops per year- 
> Bali, four. What are they supposed to do when the rice crop fails?  
> Migrate? And this scenario is repeated all over the globe.
> If Ulf REALLY cared about the poor of this planet, he would be  
> doing whatever he could to reverse this trend.
> Dr. Michael J Risk
> Professor of Biology and Geology
> On 2010-11-24, at 9:29 AM,
>  Erlingsson wrote:
>> Hear hear.
>> As someone who is not convinced that global warming should be given
>> such a high position on the political "problems to solve
>> list" (rather, I want it's place to be taken by 'decreasing the waste
>> in our exploitation of natural resources, including fossil fuels'
>> since that automatically leads to less pollution - including less CO2
>> emissions), well, let me ask a few questions that I have still never
>> got a satisfactory answer to:
>> First, I assume we agree that the hypothesis is that anthropogenic
>> climate change will lead to disastrous effects for this planet.
>> Second, I assume we agree that the prediction is developed as  
>> follows:
>> 1. An assumption is made regarding the future emissions of greenhouse
>> gases, notably CO2.
>> 2. A calibrated model is used to calculate what climatic changes
>> those emissions will lead to.
>> 3. Regional and local studies are carried out to predict what the
>> consequences may be of those climatic changes.
>> Third, it seems to me that the proponents of the hypothesis are
>> entirely focusing their arguments on point 2 above, but unless points
>> 1 and 3 also are true, point 2 is of purely academic interest.
>> Therefore I ask regarding point 1:
>> A) What assumptions of future consumption of fossil fuel during the
>> remainder of this century is made? How many tons of coal, barrels of
>> oil, etc?
>> B) What is the total resources of exploitable fossil fuel on this
>> planet? In other words, are the assumptions physically possible?
>> I would like to remind everyone of peak oil. As far as I understand,
>> the climate change assumptions are that we burn a lot MORE fossil
>> fuel in this century than the previous, but according to the peak oil
>> hypothesis we may already have used up half of all available
>> resources. Am I misinformed, or has some mistake been made in the
>> assumptions?
>> As for point 3, there is no doubt that many places will benefit from
>> a change. I mean, in my native Sweden the land is rising and harbors
>> and towns have to be constantly moved. If the sea level would start
>> rising by the same pace, they would benefit. It is also very cold, so
>> if the temperature would rise, they would benefit doubly. And what
>> about all of Siberia? Climate is constantly changing, the sea level
>> is constantly changing (although both have been uncharacteristically
>> stable the last ten thousand years), and perhaps that is very lucky
>> because if not, the soil would soon be depleted of its nutrients
>> where we cultivate. What we have to watch out for are only drastic
>> changes. But having said that, we must remember that also drastic
>> changes are a part of nature, such as the Bølling warming (http://
>> erlingsson.com/authorship/CIS2GOM.html), the 8200 BP cooling event,
>> etc. And frankly, I have seen some very hyped up reports, as if
>> grabbing for straws (e.g.: a rare butterfly on Rhodos could become
>> extinct - give me a break, Rhodos will not even notice the predicted
>> changes).
>> This hype makes me sick to the stomach, because there are SO MANY
>> REAL PROBLEMS IN THE WORLD that are overshadowed by this. Starvation,
>> criminal violence, cholera, natural disasters, there is a plethora of
>> problems to deal with, and so many of the brightest brains in the
>> world are devoting their valuable (and tax-paid) time to THIS!?!?!
>> Over and out.
>> ___________
>> Ulf Erlingsson
>> ...........................
>> "If you only knew, my son, with how little wisdom the world is run."
>> Axel Oxenstierna, 1648
>> On 2010-11-23, at 14:42, Eugene Shinn wrote:
>>>  Gee!  The emotions and vitriol stirred by my climate poking is
>>> overwhelming. Why is it mainly among coral researchers? Other
>>> disciplines, including the readers of Scientific American, seem not
>>> nearly so excitable. The last time I saw scientists so divided was
>>> over Continental Drift. Alfred Wegener's observation that anyone can
>>> see by looking at a map created a huge storm back then but it was
>>> almost entirely among geologists. I suppose that's understandable
>>> because Wegner was a meteorologist and he was treading on another
>>> discipline's turf. Wegener idea (we call them models now) was
>>> basically discredited for lack of a mechanism that would explain how
>>> the continents move. Never mind that the evidence was as plain as
>>> well you know what. The controversy raged on well into the 1950s and
>>> carried over and ended in the late 1960s when the magnetic stripes
>>> and sea bottom ages were verified by the deep sea drilling project.
>>> The climate issue may be similar because skeptics reject the CO2
>>> explanation but have not put forward a mechanism for warming
>>> acceptable to the AGWs.
>>>     Continental drift was something that could be solved but
>>> unfortunately we have no surefire way to solve the climate issue.  
>>> The
>>> issue thus has taken on quasi religious status. In addition the
>>> public and politicians are now involved while with plate tectonics
>>> there was little money to be made, or lost, so politics and the
>>> public stayed away. If only there was a single controlled experiment
>>> that would prove that CO2 is or is not the cause we could all go
>>> home. Yes we are doing a huge experiment by raising CO2 levels but
>>> unfortunately there is no sister earth to serve as a control. We can
>>> only correlate and everyone knows that correlation is not scientific
>>> proof. There are also unexplained correlations to contend with.
>>> Between 1955 and 1975 worldwide temperature dropped while CO2 level
>>> rose, and between 1975 and 2000 temperature and CO2 rose together  
>>> but
>>> during the past decade temperature remained flat or decreased
>>> slightly while CO2 continued to rise. The latest decline may be only
>>> a temporary blip but we will have to wait at least 20 more years to
>>> see what happens. Less than 30 years and it called weather but 30
>>> years is considered climate. Lets hope it does not continue to
>>> decline. A cold world is a really bad place.
>>>      I sent the Pew Foundation posting about the Rainbow Warriors
>>> concern to a member of a skeptic group and received the following
>>> reply.
>>> "What is this stuff about "the amount of resources" that we skeptics
>>> have at our disposal? The AGW folks have literally billions of
>>> dollars at their disposal, at least $2 b in the U. S. alone, while
>>> most of us toil without any support whatsoever, only focused on
>>> maintaining  integrity  in our science. We are literally the
>>> "starving artists" of science, trying to bring honesty to a
>>> politically charged debate. If we could only bring reasonable
>>> scientists together to look at data without defending prior
>>> positions, we might be able to bring order out of this chaos.
>>> Unfortunately, we can't even get both sides to the table for a
>>> debate."
>>>      Yes there are emotions on both sides of the issue. I don't  
>>> doubt
>>> there are some industry groups funding anti AGW research but it is
>>> peanuts compared to that being supplied by governments both here and
>>> abroad. I still ask why so many coral researches have bought into  
>>> the
>>> AGW side of this dogfight? Lets see, are there coral researchers not
>>> funded by various government and state governments, or NGOs? As one
>>> writer on the list said, "The question is fundamental because where
>>> politicians do not find an issue to be important they will not want
>>> to allocate resources at state or federal levels to deal with it."
>>> Ummmm.  Another writer commented, "The question is how can we turn
>>> the tide and make sure that the sciences involved in dealing with
>>> issues directly related to climate change do not become? political
>>> issues? Wow! Is that writer suggesting this is not already one of  
>>> the
>>> biggest political issues of all time? Remember the "I" in IPCC  
>>> stands
>>> for "Intergovernmental." Does that not tell us something?
>>>      Many national and international scientific societies (even the
>>> Geological Society of America and AGU and so on) have signed onto
>>> human caused global warming. Could there be a reason besides the
>>> science? I think all of those societies are composed, and
>>> orchestrated, mainly by scientists receiving government funding
>>> and/or they work for universities receiving government funding.  
>>> Would
>>> granting agencies send money if they thought they were supporting
>>> research that rejects AGW? Umm!
>>>       I as struck by Steve's comment "one of the most disturbing
>>> aspects of this discussion is the fact that many contrarians are
>>> scientifically literate and most certainly capable of complex
>>> intellectual analysis." He is right on but does that not sound like
>>> defense of a "faith based" belief rather than science? Remember
>>> Galileo questioning the church's dictum that the sun revolves around
>>> the Earth. I guess he just didn't realize "the science was settled."
>>>      Bruno's comments are well taken. He seems to have a cabinet  
>>> full
>>> of standard replies and websites just as do many skeptics. Clearly
>>> battle-lines have been drawn on the climate issue but unfortunately
>>> our National budget can ill afford a war like this. Ok I know  
>>> that is
>>> also a standard skeptic reply and I am sure there is an alternative
>>> answer. Unfortunately there is a wealth of ad hominem accusations
>>> flying around when concrete issues need to be discussed. But it's
>>> hard to get both sides to the table. It does no good to kill the
>>> messenger. The diatribe against Robert Carters co authorship of a
>>> paper on El Nino is a good example. I still stand by his book as an
>>> excellent way to understand the issue in balance even if it  
>>> disagrees
>>> with your faith. If each side of the issue only reads the stuff that
>>> supports their side then there will be no progress and the battle
>>> will rage on. In the end science becomes the looser. The public will
>>> loose faith in us as well. Gene
>>> -- 
>>> No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
>>> ------------------------------------
>>> -----------------------------------
>>> E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
>>> University of South Florida
>>> Marine Science Center (room 204)
>>> 140 Seventh Avenue South
>>> St. Petersburg, FL 33701
>>> <eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
>>> Tel 727 553-1158----------------------------------
>>> -----------------------------------
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